A Decent Proposal: No More Olympics

Seems the “Bird’s Nest” stadium, built in Beijing for last summer’s Olympics, is now unused and will be knocked down and replaced with — of course — a new shopping mall.  Wikipedia cites sources saying China spent $423 million building this monstrosity, and that that staggering figure is a mere “one-tenth the cost that it would have cost to build the Bird’s Nest in the West.”

And what do the people of China and the world get in exchange for tolerating the construction of these $4 billion disposable boondoggles?  The usual Olympics agenda — another dose of extreme distraction, commercialism, and nationalism.

The world can hardly tolerate much more of those increasingly dangerous things, to say nothing of the colossal ecological wastefulness of things like building more Bird’s Nests and flying the world’s game-players and upscale spectators into thoroughly pointless, quickly forgotten quadrennial crypto-fascist schlockfests.

Let’s stop this madness, shall we?

Chutzpah & Delusion: Land Rover VEED

That’s a scan of the “Tread Lightly” ad I clipped from the local alt-weekly a while back.

Yes, folks, this is the kind of thing you can get away with in our glorious culture. Selling Land Rovers, with their 12/18 mpg rating and their $77,675 – $93,325 MSRP, under the idea that this monstrosity among monstrosities could have anything whatsoever to do with ecological concern.

The level of chutzpah, deception, and delusion involved among both the peddlers and the over-privileged purchasers of these things would make Orwell gag in surprise. The dealership — Land Rover Portland/Land Rover Oregon — says it cleans up after itself, so that somehow excuses the massive wastefulness and destructiveness of the product? Sure, yes, right.

The depravity of this is multiple. For now, though, I’ll simply repeat Robert L. Heilbroner’s words:

How strong, deep, or sustaining can be the values of a civilization that generates a ceaseless flow of half-truths and careful deceptions?